Call for Papers


2023 Annual Meeting
October 20-22

Marriott Salt Lake Downtown City Creek, Salt Lake City, Utah

Religion, Empowering or Oppressing People and Communities?

Under what conditions are religion and religious communities forces for good and under what conditions are they forces for bad in society? In what ways do religious groups, informal gatherings, networks, and organizations empower and support as well as oppress and harm those currently and previously attached to them and the broader community? How should we theoretically and empirically approach this topic? What factors—for example differences in theology, power dynamics, and social environments—explain why certain religious groups empower while others oppress those within and outside of their faith communities? What are the consequences of religious-based support and harm? To what extent does the former affect continuity in people’s religious and spiritual beliefs, commitments, and practices as well as how community residents view and relate to faith-based institutions? What types of religious-based harm cause people to leave their spiritual homes and origins, sometimes forever, and create conflict with the larger community?

The role of religion in fostering social cohesion and alleviation of inequalities as well as its role in fostering violence and societal disintegration are longstanding and still relevant topics today, for the social sciences as well as for faith communities and the broader public.

The 2023 joint SSSR+RRA call for papers encourages proposals that address one or more of these questions. We are interested in proposals building on basic research (SSSR) that employ a range of methodologies as well as draw on established and novel data. We also seek proposals on this topic that are not only relevant for the scholarly community, but also those that have an applied research focus (RRA). And we welcome proposals on any topic within the social scientific study of religion that examines how religious denominations, groups, or traditions relate to these topics.

The SSSR+RRA annual meeting will feature paper sessions and book panels (formerly known as “author-meets-critics” sessions). Submit complete paper sessions—consisting of three to four presentations—or individual proposals (which the program chairs will thematically organize). Proposals for book panels should contain the author of a recent book and three to four panelists.

All submissions will be made through the online portal at Please indicate the type of submission (e.g., individual paper or book panel) and whether it is a better fit for SSSR or RRA. Please contact SSSR programs chairs, Shaonta’ Allen ( and Jason Klocek ( or RRA program chair Brenton Kalinowski ( with any questions.

Submissions open: February 1, 2023

Submissions close: March 31, 2023

Decisions made: April 30, 2023